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An Ancient Hokkien Musical Tradition in Singapore (26 Feb 2012)
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The Singapore Heritage Society and the Siong Leng Musical Association invites you for a guided tour of the history of Siong Leng and Nanyin music on 26 Feb (Sunday)…

To celebrate the opening of a new permanent exhibition at the Siong Leng Musical Association, join Chinatown expert guide, Chan Chow Wah, as he introduces you to the fascinating history of Siong Leng, Nanyin music and the streets around Bukit Pasoh and Telok Ayer where the Chinese community gathered. You will also be treated to a short performance by the talented musicians of Siong Leng.

Venue: 4B Bukit Pasoh Rd, Singapore 089818

Date / Time: Sunday, February 26, 2012, from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Very limited places are available, so REGISTER NOW at

There is no charge for this event but donations to support Siong Leng Musical Association and the Singapore Heritage Society would be much appreciated.

About the Siong Leng Musical Association

The Siong Leng Musical Association 湘灵音乐社 was founded in 1941 to promote Nanyin 南音and Li Yuan Opera 梨园, although its origins in Singapore can be traced back to around 1901 as the Heng Yun Association. The development of the association was closely tied to the waves of Chinese immigration into Singapore and the social history of a growing  Hokkien population. Today, Siong Leng continues to thrive, training generations of young musicians who perform at temple occasions, cultural events, charity events and private functions, most notably at the annual Kusu Island Pilgrimage, the historical Thian Hock Keng Temple and concerts at the Esplanade.

Find out more about Siong Leng Musical Association

A video clip of a Siong Leng performance:

Nanyin music (literally translated as “the music of the South”) has a history of more than 1,000 years.  It is a traditional opera form sung in the Minnan (south Fujian, or Hokkien) dialect and is central to the Minnan culture in southern China, as well as to Hokkien populations overseas. The slow, simple and elegant melodies are performed on distinctive instruments such as a bamboo flute called the dongxiao and a crooked-neck lute played horizontally called the pipa, as well as more common wind, string and percussion instruments. The rich repertoire of songs and scores preserves ancient folk music and poems and has influenced opera, puppet theatre and other performing art traditions. Nanyin is now included in UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

About the speaker

Chan Chow Wah has an MSc in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics. He is a Fellow of The Royal Anthropological Institute in UK and a member of American Anthropological Association and International Oral History Association. In 2006, he was among the inaugural batch of the National Library Board’s Lee Kong Chian Research Fellows. Chan works in the creative industry with a Swiss company in Singapore. He has published the book, Light on the Lotus Hill (2009), and produced a video documentary based on the book in 2011.

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